Pandemic has made many people realize the effects of living a healthy lifestyle. Many have started eating healthy besides exercising and following other regimes to gain a fit body, mind, and spirit. This lifestyle change has led to the demand for a structured meal plan with proper nutrition and diet. The industry of food wellness companies is rising due to it, which means more job opportunities will come up for the RNDs as well. With the expected 8% growth in this occupation from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average of all careers. The pandemic has become a catalyst for the further surge of this career. You can look into what a dietician and nutritionist do and decide if this is a suitable career to take. Read more about Nutrition and dietetics a promising career.
They do a lot more than just assigning meal plans to people who follow a strict diet for varied reasons, such as health maintenance, career, or illness. They are experts in food science and nutrition to promote health and manage diseases like diabetes, etc.
Let us look at what a dietician and nutritionist do on an average day?
- They assess the dietary needs of the patient or client.
- Work on client eating disorder problems and promote in them a healthy eating norm.
- Make meal plans and nutrition plans upon extensive research as per their budget and preferences.
- Assess and evaluate the meal plan and change it if necessary.
- Work in promoting healthy eating, which may require them to speak in certain groups about diet, nutrition, and the relationship between food habits or managing the specific disease.
- Create educational materials about healthy food choices.
- They are the ones who plan the latest food products that give the nutrition required. They also contribute to nutritional science research.
- A dietician and nutritionist keep a record of their patient progress.
- These are general duties that every dietician and nutritionist will do according to their occupation.
There are different nutritionists and dieticians assigned to the industry as these:-
- Clinical RDN:- Just as the name suggests, they work in hospitals and long-term area facilities, clinics, private practice, and other institutions. They provide tailor-made nutritional programs based on their patient or resident and counsel patient. A further specialization will let them work with specific problems as diabetes, kidney, or digestive disorder.
- Those who work as Community RDN:-They develop programs and give counseling to the public on topics related to food, health, and nutrition. They work with a specific group of people, such as with a particular age group. They work in public healthcare clinics, government, non-profit agencies, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
- Management dietician:– They work on planning food programs in cafeterias, hospitals, prisons, military schools. They manage the kitchen and do other business-related tasks, such as budgeting, management of the pantry.
There are some Important Qualities necessary to be an RDN. You need to have:-
- Analytical skills. Dieticians and nutritionists must hunger to know the latest research on food and nutrition. Their work is to make a practical eating guide for the patient based on their preferences.
- Compassion. Having an emphatic nature towards their patients or clients is a trait they must possess.
- Listening skills. A dietician and nutritionist cannot help the team make better meal plans or help their clients and patients to customize the meal plans if they are not observant. A listening ear is a mandatory skill for an RDN.
- Problem-solving skills. They help to solve the queries of the patient and work out a better solution for their clients.
- Speaking skills. A skill every dietician and nutritionist must possess. They work with their patients and clients who depend on them to explain all the complicated topics in a non-technical language to make them understandable. An RDN needs to have speaking skills to simplify the technical terms to them.
They require these skills because of the many aspects of this career.
- They may need to assess the nutritional needs and the cost of meals and food availability.
- If they have their own business, they need to schedule appointments, even manage employees, bill insurance companies, and maintain patient files.
The qualifications needed are:-
- By January 1st, 2024, they require all new RDN to possess a master’s degree to reach a par with other medical professionals and MDs.
- There has been a steady increase in salary over the past several years above and beyond other career fields.
- However, it is intensive schooling. The cost of studying it is pretty expensive.
- But with the dietician internships combined program, you get paid to work in the laboratory or assist a professor. For such a case, It can somewhat help to ease the expenses.
- Also, choosing an economic school with a powerful state agricultural experiment station to gain employment is the way to go.
- You also need to check housing costs in the places you might attend.
- If you are an out-of-state graduate student but if the Agricultural Experiment Station of the state employs you.
- You may likely gain in-state tuition status, which will ease the burden of all the expenses incurred in studying it.
If you work, you want to go to a specialized niche. There are other certifications like:-
- Certified Diabetes Educator or Certified Nutrition Support Dietitian allows you to concentrate on the specialized niche.
- You need a license to practice nutrition in many states.
The options are endless here in this career.
- You may wish to travel and work or work under an institute or an organization.
- Or become a self-employed RDN and make your appointments and work whenever you want.
Some places where an RDN is employable are:-
- Hospital food department.
- People require a supermarket dietitian to assist them.
- Nursing homes. The task could be for menu planning, elder care regulations, etc.).
- There is that option of being a private practice RDN, which means you can see individual patients in your office or their homes.
- You can also enhance it by being a certified fitness instructor or private trainer to go with your degree.
- RDN who practice in private can also take fewer therapeutic options and practice management, website development, social media consulting for other dietitians, menu consulting for restaurants that focus on wellness, etc.
Let us look into some of these best universities in the US that provide RDN courses:-
- University of Western States, Portland, OR
- Iowa state university, Ames, IA
- The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
- University of Vermont, Burlington, VI
- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
- SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY
- Logan University, Chesterfield, MO
- Keiser University Ft Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale.
The average annual salary of an RDN in the US estimated in April 2021 was $61161, but it typically ranges between $63,900-$81,600. Salary ranges can depend on education, certifications, additional skills, and the experiences gained in the profession. Studies have shown that dieticians and nutritionists can save the healthcare system a lot of money by averting spending on expensive hospital visits.
.If you want to take this career path, be ready to move out if you are staying in a small town as most RDN have better scope in the cities. An RND is well qualified in multiple disciplines, no doubt about that. The bureau of labor and statistics has stated that dieticians are more in demand than any other profession. Its job demand has surged by 20 percent compared to another career. This surge is a good thing for those wanting to take this career. This job offers options for flexibility and fun by using your creativity in it. Also, different diets are getting more attention and respect in the media, which is a good thing. The best part is that it is less stressful work. You can plan out your career in a specific niche within the RND and do great. Do you see yourself with the skill set and passion? If yes, then this is a suitable career for you.